WARDROBE MISTAKES LAW STUDENTS AND LAWYERS OFTEN MAKE
‘An attorney’s appearance is the first opportunity to convey a particular message, and just as that message changes with circumstance, an attorney’s style must adapt to who and what is being represented.’
It’s a no-brainer that lawyers and law students are meant to look professional when occasions call for it. Still, this doesn’t mean that as a lawyer or law student you should look all stuck up and boring all the time. You could spice things up by looking fashionable while rocking your legal or professional get up.
So this is where the problem comes in. While trying to look ‘fashionable’, most lawyers and law students come off as being too flashy (which is mostly common amongst young professionals) this is sometimes due to sheer ignorance of the rules of legal and professional dressing (which is the focal point of this article) and lack of right fashion sense.
All that being said, lets delve into the focus of this article. I’ll be stating the funniest (this would obviously not apply to everyone) and common mistakes made:
Multiple lapel pins: It is normal as a lawyer or law student to be part of different associations with a lapel pin as a means of identity. You might be tempted to ‘rep’ these associations at once, thinking it is very fashionable. It is quite weird because a suit only has one pin hole for lapel pins. Despite this, some people still wear multiple pins. I’ve seen someone wear 6 pins at once. 6!
The placement of a lapel pin is also very important. Usually, a lapel pin must be worn on the widest lapel on the left side of your clothing.
That rule can be forgone if as lawyer your firm has it’s own dress code. Also, using lapel pins as cuff-links is a strict no-no.
Big ties: No tie is perfect for every man, at every hour, and in every situation. The width you choose should be something that gives you comfort and exudes confidence, thus the reasonable thing to do is to consider your body type while purchasing ties. Some people pay no regard to this and are not even aware that it’s a thing. For slim / skinny men, it is recommended that your tie width should be “2.25 – 2.75”. Why? A wide tie on a skinny guy really looks a lot wider than it would on a man of significant girth.
For men with an average chest or athletic build, the recommended tie width is “2.25 – 3.25”. For men with large chest, it would obviously be larger ties. Wider ties tend to have a conservative, classic appeal. In contrast, narrower ties exude a youthful, trendy charm.
It is advisable to also keep up with trends to know what’s outdated and appropriate.
Vests: A lot of people love pairing vests with shirts because vests give the advantage of expanding a wardrobe in size and flexibility. There are tons of mistakes made while wearing vests, I’ll be mentioning a few.
The first mistake is wearing vests darker than suits or jackets. You may then be wondering what colors work best with your suits or jackets.
The best way to pull it off is to begin with a solid colored vest that is lighter than your suit or jacket because it is very versatile and will almost always look magnificent.
Back in time, dapper gents would wear white gilets or vests with their daywear and even today a white vest in either flannel or worsted looks fantastic with navy or charcoal suits. At the same time, white stains very easily and sand tones, buff or dove grey work very well and are more flexible.
Secondly, never wear a belt with a vest. When you wear a vest, always skip the belt in favor of side adjusters or braces because a belt will always make your vest stand away from the trousers waistband, which makes it look bulky and crowded.
Lastly, it is also very important to choose a vest with the correct length to match the trousers.
Wearing boubous: If you don’t know what a boubou is, boubous are long flowing skirts or gowns worn mostly in Africa. Boubous are mostly worn to class by conservative law students like some Muslims and Christians. This is obviously a show of their religious inclinations but it is not professional at already and doesn’t match the normal regulatory attire.
Below the calf (ankle) socks: No attorney’s outfit is complete without proper socks. A lot of lawyers and law students out there wear short socks that expose their calf. Not only is it unprofessional, but nobody wants to see your exposed leg hair. The golden rule is to pair the color of your socks with a pair of your pants and your suit.
Too much jewelry: As for jewelry, they should be minimal; multiple piercings are frowned at because they come off as unprofessional so its better to wear only a pair of earrings, no or less conspicuous bracelets, dangling earrings, heavy necklaces or anklets. For those who cover their hair, turbans and short hijabs are preferable and compatible to formal wear.
“Its all about having that statement piece in everything you wear that sets you apart from the crowd and makes you memorable” advised Chong, a fashion analyst and designer.
You can choose one item to be your signature statement piece or mix it up from outfit to outfit, day to day.
Whether it’s a statement pencil skirt or blazer or some killer heels, suit, tie, make sure it stands out and says, “This is me!” Doing it the right way of course.
The above mentioned mistakes are just but a few of the myriad of mistakes made in legal and professional dressing. Sure you learnt a thing today.
Content Provider, Legal Pages.
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.